County Democrats Say Several Thousand People Entered Incorrectly Into VoteBuilder System

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hamilton County Democrats said they were told that several thousand people in the county had their voting records incorrectly entered into the VoteBuilder system.

Party officials said Democratic Party activist Jane Bowen, after learning that she was listed in the Republican columns, along with Party Chairman Paul Smith, met with election officials late last week to diiscuss the errors.

“We inquired as to the process by which a voter is entered into VoteBuilder and what determines how they are labeled, such as “Democrat”, “Leaning Democrat”, and so on,” Ms. Bowen stated.

“We were told that although the state is responsible for entering the information into VoteBuilder, personnel at the Election Commission are responsible for scanning bar codes to indicate how someone votes, and that information is then sent to the state to be entered into VoteBuilder,” she said.

An Election Commission employee pulled Ms. Bowen’s record, and she had been marked as voting Republican for several years. “The explanation given as to the discrepancy was ‘there was a new system installed some years ago’, and as a result several thousand people have been entered incorrectly,” Ms. Bowen said.

Although the Election Commission is aware of this problem, the employee informed Ms. Bowen and Mr. Smith that until individual voters bring the error to their attention, it does not know which voters—or exactly how many—were affected.

“The employee re-coded my voting record back to and including 2010 as ‘Democrat’, printed off a sheet indicating the changes, and explained the information will be forwarded to the state to be corrected in the VoteBuilder system,” Ms. Bowen said. “But we strongly encourage Democratic voters to check their records. These errors can potentially play a major role in elections, as VoteBuilder is used for contacting and turning voters out during early voting and on election day.”

Mr. Smith said, "This follows multiple reported incidents of Democratic voters forced to stand in long lines at chaotic voting places, being incorrectly turned away from the polls on election day, and not receiving new registration cards in time for the election.

“As the Supreme Court prepares to look at the Voting Rights Act, it’s important to pay attention to the ongoing problems voters are having right here in Hamilton County,” he said.

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